The decision last week by the Administrative Court of First Instance of Athens to award compensation to the relatives of a Syrian and an Egyptian man who died of carbon monoxide inhalation in January 2017 at the Moria refugee camp of on the island of Lesvos is seen as a milestone.
The court acknowledged the miserable conditions that prevailed at the reception and identification center and noted the inaction of the authorities regarding the provision of decent housing or adequate information to residents about the dangers they faced.
The two men died after lighting a fire in their tents to keep themselves warm during freezing weather conditions.
Twenty-year-old Egyptian Ahmed Elgamal and 46-year-old Syrian Mustafa Mustafa lived in the same tent and lost their lives four days apart, on January 24 and 28 respectively. Their families, represented by lawyer Silina Pavlaki of the law firm Pavlakis-Moschos & Associates, filed lawsuits against the Greek state in November 2018 and July 2019. Both lawsuits were joined into one.
The court’s decision obliges the Greek state to pay total compensation of 85,000 euros to the relatives of Elgamal and 250,000 euros to Mustafa’s family, which is larger.
Indicative of the conditions at the camp was that in January 2017 three people died in their sleep within a week and another was taken to an intensive care unit. All the deaths were attributed to acute carbon monoxide inhalation poisoning.